The City of Huntington Beach enacted a law create child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders in city parks and playgrounds.

“Huntington Beach has set a new standard in protecting children from sexual predators by enacting the toughest ordinance prohibiting sexual predators from entering parks,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Special thanks to Mayor Carchio, Mayor pro tem Hansen, and Council Members Dwyer and Harper for making children’s safety a priority.”

At the meeting, Mayor Carchio spoke passionately to convince his colleagues to pass the ordinance. “I don’t want to be sitting up here and say… that I had the ability and didn’t use it and some child got abused… What you need to do is to pass the strongest rules against sex offenders in this city.”

“Huntington Beach, through this ordinance, send a message loud and clear to those who harm children – stay clear of our community,” said Mayor pro tem Hansen.

“As a father, this ordinance was a no-brainer. We need to keep parks free of sexual predators where children congregate,” said Council Member Dwyer.

“I would like to thank the District Attorney’s Office and the Council Members that helped to pass this ordinance,” stated Council Member Harper.

California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. requires individuals convicted of certain crimes to register as sex offenders. The registration process is used to ensure that such offenders shall be readily available for police surveillance at all times because such offenders are deemed likely to commit similar offenses in the future.

The Huntington Beach City Ordinance was modeled after the County Ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Orange County Board of Supervisors April 5, 2011, and took effect May 5, 2011, to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders in County parks and harbors. The Ordinance was developed and proposed by District Attorney Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) and makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter County recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who enforce the Ordinance.

After enacting the County Ordinance, District Attorney Rackauckas, Chairman of the Board Bill Campbell, and County Supervisors Nelson, Patricia Bates, and Janet Nguyen sent letters to each Orange County city encouraging them to consider a similar ordinance for their city parks. Huntington Beach is in the Second District represented by Vice Chairman John M.W. Moorlach.

Since May 2011, the Cities of La Habra, Los Alamitos, and Westminster have enacted a City Ordinance modeled after the County Ordinance. The City of Irvine enacted a City Ordinance with a ban of some sex offenders at city parks on June 14, 2011. Several other Orange County cities are considering ordinances at this time including Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano and Yorba Linda.